Mark Frankel
Creative Director, Founder, Sardine Academy

Mark Frankel began his film career as a young child taking pictures in Central Park in New York City with an antique Brownie box camera given to him by his grandmother. Mark studied Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford University, where he earned his BA. A year later, mark attended the Sorbonne in Paris where he did graduate work in film theory and criticism, on average watching two movies each day for nearly a year. Mark completed his film degree at the University of Southern California, earning a MFA and a big paycheck with his first writing assignment.

As a writer, Mark sold his first screenplay to Universal Pictures. The film was never made. Other scripts were written, but never sold. Rewrites led to more rewrites. Mark decided to leave LA before it crushed his spirit. He promptly moved to New York City with his wife, where he worked on theater productions for the Soho Repertory Company and independent films with William Wegman, Jill Godmilow, and Steve Buscemi. He spent a year working at HBO as Story editor for the cable television series, “men and Women,” produced by David Brown. In addition, Mark continued his own personal film work, writing and directing several short films, which have aired on PBS.

In 1988, Mark joined Ogilvy & Mather as a writer/producer on the American Express and World Wildlife Fund accounts. The American Express campaign, during these years, including the “Portraits” campaign with Annie Liebowitz, won every major advertising award from the CLIOs to the KELLYs. The World Wildlife Fund campaign was so successful that it was released as a theatrical short, won a prestigious LION at Cannes, and continues to air pro bono throughout the world.

Mark left Ogilvy & Mather three years later to be a Creative Director on the Coca-Cola and AT&T accounts at McCann Erickson. During this time, he wrote, art directed, and produced the 1992 Winter Olympic campaign for Coca-Cola. Mark began directing more and more global business at this time, managing clients as diverse as Nestle, Tiffany, and Waterman. During his years in New York, Mark also worked freelance for Lowe and Partners and Merkley/Newman/Harty. Mark began working on interactive projects in New York, helping established advertising clients move their marketing initiatives in the direction of new media.

Mark joined Colossal Pictures as Creative Director and Executive Producer in January of 1995. Originally responsible for creatively leading the New Media Group and the Commercial Division, Mark soon added commercial director to his resume producing broadcast spots for clients such as Coca-Cola and VH-1. Mark also creatively directed interactive television projects and broadband programming for clients such as Microsoft, Time Warner, and America Online. Mark set the creative agenda for all other work at the studio, including advertising, feature film development, and location based entertainment. These were some of his happiest days. The studio gave birth to such projects as “Liquid television” for MTV, the HBO movie, “Spawn,” the TV series “Aeon Flux,” the title sequence to Francis Ford Coppola’s “Dracula,” and finally, most humbly, the original distributor of “Beavis and Butthead.” Our focus on creative solutions at any cost led to a slow spiral into bankruptcy. Mark disappeared into the South Pacific for a summer to swim with sharks.

Mark resurfaced at CKS in 1997, joining as Creative Director for its Interactive Division. Clients included Netscape, Nike, General Motors, Timberland, Levis, and Disney. Mark’s role soon grew to expand beyond new media work in the company. He became Regional Partner, Executive Creative Director over the Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle offices, directing the Brand Building and Advertising Group, which includes an integrated creative department delivering on advertising, design, environmental branding, and all web development in the Northwest Region. Mark has created advertising campaigns for VISA and Disney; designed store windows for Levis; and built e-commerce and marketing web sites for Harley Davidson, Sega, Williams Sonoma, Apple, and PIXAR. With the company’s many rounds of mergers and acquisitions, it is now known as MarchFIRST. Mark worked as a member of the Office of Chief Creative Officer, driving many national initiatives and helping to establish the company’s global network of offices. Much of Mark’s work also focused on articulating the company’s vision around User Experience on the internet, developing integrated advertising solutions between online and traditional media, and working on wireless design solutions with clients in Asia and Europe.

Mark then joined Digitas in 2001 as the Creative Director of their San Francisco Office. Mark’s clients included Microsoft, Yahoo!, Williams Sonoma, SONY Electronics, Charles Schwab, General Motors, and American Express. Mark led the growth of the office through the merger with Modem Media, and added new clients to the agency roster including Michelin, Hewlett Packard, Sprint, Clear Channel, and Sephora.

Mark left Digitas to start his own agency and film production company, Sardine Academy, more than two years ago. Sardine Academy is a creative boutique focused on the disciplines of advertising, design, and film, and how those disciplines inform one another. Mark is working with a variety of new clients in the areas of entertainment, consumer electronics, technology, travel, and fashion. Mark also continues to explore new forms of non-traditional advertising and developing and producing branded content for his clients in a variety of media.